Re: prepositions with kai

From: T & J Peterson (
Date: Mon Oct 14 1996 - 15:08:10 EDT

T & J Peterson wrote:
> I'm working on a study of John 3:5 and pursuing an investigation of the
> grammatical structure in "ex hudotos kai pneumatos." I've read the
> suggestion that the preposition followed by two anarthrous nouns, joined
> with a kai, indicates a particular relationship (albeit without the
> strength of the GS rule). I cannot, however, find anything substantially
> defending that this construction does in fact show a grammatical tie
> between the two nouns, and I don't have access to the software to search
> for other examples. Any ideas?

I would like to thank Mr. Greiner for his assistance in sending me the
list of references for ek . . . noun . . . kai . . . noun. It turned out
to be greatly inflated by the necessarily loose structure of the inquiry.
 I really don't see any way around it, though, since adjectives can come
into the picture without really impacting the thrust of the structure.
Other than that, I've seen generally skeptical responses at best. I
can't particularly blame anyone, though. I really didn't have much to go
on when I began this, and I scarcely have more now.

From the list I was able to find five examples:
Matt 23:25--gemousin ex harpages kai akrasias
Luke 2:4--einai auton ex oikou kai patrias Dauid
2 Cor 2:4--ek gar polles thlipseos kai sunoches kardias
1 Tim 1:5--agape ek katharas kardias kai suneideseos agathes kai posteos
Rev 18:12--skeuos ek xulou timiotatou kai chalkou kai siderou kai

Now of these five (which is not in itself a great number), a case could
probably be built against 2 Cor 2:4, since the adjective helps the
connection. Rev 18:12 seems to be questionable, since each item appears
to be a vessel of a different material. (I could argue that the list
creates new circumstances, but then I would be on shaky ground with 1 Tim
1:5, which also includes a list.) All in all, then, the evidence so far
is quite limited and leaves too much up for grabs to draw hard
conclusions. A more complete set of results would have to include the
same construction with other prepositions.

The question I am trying to consider is whether the structure lends
itself more readily to a semi-contrast or to a connection of some sort.
My contention is that Jesus could have stated it more clearly if His
intent were to say, "No, Nicodemus, everyone is born of water, but
entrance into the kingdom requires the addition of spiritual birth." As
His words stand, they seem to be taken most naturally as giving a joint
expansion of anothen in verse three. Taken this way, verse five is an
expanded parallel, changing "see" to "enter" and "again (or from above)"
to "of water and spirit." There are, of course other arguments involved,
from context, OT imagery, and a number of sources and angles, but here
I've tried to consider the syntactical structure--an argument used on
more than one occasion to oppose the physical birth view, but never
really taken up in any detail. At least I haven't found anything
substantial on it.

Perhaps it is a bit odd for me to be responding to my own original
message, but I thought it fitting to close the matter, if in fact the
number and depth of responses is indicative of the regard held for this
study. I'll not beat it to death from this point forward.

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